Presentation Title

Molecular Convergence of Pigment and Eye Loss in Cave Crustaceans

Location

Guzman 201, Dominican University of California

Start Date

4-17-2019 4:00 PM

End Date

4-17-2019 5:00 PM

Department

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Student Type

Undergraduate

Faculty Mentor(s)

Meredith Protas, PhD

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Cave animals are animals that descend from surface dwelling organisms; after many generations, they evolved characteristics to help them survive and thrive in a cave environment, such as loss of eyes and pigment, longer antennae, and heightened senses. We are working with Asellus aquaticus, a species of aquatic isopod from Europe. The cave version of the animal has longer antennae, and no pigment or eyes. There still exists a surface version of the animal that has brownish pigment and eyes, as well as shorter antennae. Surface crustaceans can be found in multiple surface environments including rivers and ponds. Despite these differences, the cave form can still cross breed with their surface counterparts. The cave population we are studying is from the Kosswigi cave. We know that the same genomic regions affect eye and pigment traits in two different cave populations, Zelske and Planina (1, 2). With this previous information, we can now ask whether the genetic basis of eye and pigment loss is the same in the Kosswigi cave as it is in the Zelske and Planina caves. We hypothesize that there will be shared regions responsible for eye and pigment traits between the Zelske, Planina, and Kosswigi cave populations. To investigate this question, we have found genetic markers between the Kosswigi and surface populations in the regions known to be responsible in the Zelske and Planina cave populations. In addition, we have found genetic markers in some candidate genes for the eye loss phenotype. We have generated F2 individuals between the surface and Kosswigi populations and are currently comparing the genotype of the above genetic markers to see if any are associated with eye and pigment phenotypes.

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Apr 17th, 4:00 PM Apr 17th, 5:00 PM

Molecular Convergence of Pigment and Eye Loss in Cave Crustaceans

Guzman 201, Dominican University of California

Cave animals are animals that descend from surface dwelling organisms; after many generations, they evolved characteristics to help them survive and thrive in a cave environment, such as loss of eyes and pigment, longer antennae, and heightened senses. We are working with Asellus aquaticus, a species of aquatic isopod from Europe. The cave version of the animal has longer antennae, and no pigment or eyes. There still exists a surface version of the animal that has brownish pigment and eyes, as well as shorter antennae. Surface crustaceans can be found in multiple surface environments including rivers and ponds. Despite these differences, the cave form can still cross breed with their surface counterparts. The cave population we are studying is from the Kosswigi cave. We know that the same genomic regions affect eye and pigment traits in two different cave populations, Zelske and Planina (1, 2). With this previous information, we can now ask whether the genetic basis of eye and pigment loss is the same in the Kosswigi cave as it is in the Zelske and Planina caves. We hypothesize that there will be shared regions responsible for eye and pigment traits between the Zelske, Planina, and Kosswigi cave populations. To investigate this question, we have found genetic markers between the Kosswigi and surface populations in the regions known to be responsible in the Zelske and Planina cave populations. In addition, we have found genetic markers in some candidate genes for the eye loss phenotype. We have generated F2 individuals between the surface and Kosswigi populations and are currently comparing the genotype of the above genetic markers to see if any are associated with eye and pigment phenotypes.